The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Florida Panthers in an impressive Sunday Night win.
After re-experiencing last year’s playoffs on Saturday Night (i.e losing a game they win over 90% of the time due to a hot goalie and some bad luck) the Toronto Maple Leafs recovered nicely to beat a fellow Cup Contender.
The win put the Leafs record at home to an impressive 24-7-2.
They remain on track to have their best regular season in franchise history, despite the loss to Montreal dropping them into 8th overall by points percentage. “8th” is a bit misleading, however, when you consider that the are only .003 percentage points outside of 4th overall, and that their current points-percentage is usually good enough to compete for first overall.
The Panthers remain only 3.5 game ahead of the Leafs, leaving the Atlantic Title very much in play. Of course, this was a great weekend for disingenuous takes about the Leafs record, with many mocking them for being in a Wild Card position.
Ironically, however, while in a Wild Card position, the Leafs were 4th overall by points-percentage, and now due to a quirk in the results, they sit in 3rd place despite being lower in the overall standings. (stats naturalstattrick.com).
Toronto Maple Leafs Keep on Keeping On
After the loss to Montreal, I kept hearing about how the Leafs are inconsistent (their record says that’s a ridiculous thing to say) and how they keep playing down to their opponents (an embarrassingly lazy take).
Clearly any team that is winning nearly 70% of their points is incredibly consistent, and while the Leafs did lose to teams like Arizona (twice), Vancouver and Montreal, they also dominated those teams and had to get unlucky in order to lose.
Next up for the Toronto Maple Leafs is a game against the Boston Bruins tomorrow. The Bruins got extremely unlucky earlier in the season and many people wrote them off, however they have corrected course and still one of the NHL’s best teams. In fact, I think Boston is a way better team than Florida, no matter what the standings currently say.
An interesting development is that the Leafs signed prospect Nick Abruzzese, who they drafted in the 4th round of the 2019 draft. He will be joining the Leafs in Boston and making his NHL debut (I assume) on Tuesday.
Hard to know what to expect out of a 4th rounder who comes from college late in the year, but it can’t be any worse than what Wayne Simmonds has been bringing to the table for a couple months now.
It will be fun to see him make his debut, just as it was fun to see the Leafs play two great games this weekend.